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1 February 2008 Does Differential Exploitation of Folivory Promote Coexistence in an African Savanna Granivorous Rodent Community?
Anouska A. Kinahan, Neville Pillay
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Abstract

Using a comparative approach, we examined the gut morphology of 6 ecologically similar rodent species coexisting in an African savanna. Although all species are primarily granivores, we aimed to establish whether modifications of the gut morphology exist that would promote the potential for exploiting different food types, particularly foliage. The species examined exhibited a gradation in gut structure, with some showing modifications more toward granivory and others toward folivory. These findings are supported by studies of food preferences in captivity. Modifications of the gut, enabling the potential for exploitation of a greater folivorous diet in some species compared to others, may be 1 way in which dietary partitioning as a method of coexistence may be promoted. Nonetheless, other mechanisms, such as spatial and temporal segregation, social tolerance, and behavioral differences, also may determine coexistence in this community.

Anouska A. Kinahan and Neville Pillay "Does Differential Exploitation of Folivory Promote Coexistence in an African Savanna Granivorous Rodent Community?," Journal of Mammalogy 89(1), 132-137, (1 February 2008). https://doi.org/10.1644/06-MAMM-A-381.1
Accepted: 1 May 2007; Published: 1 February 2008
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KEYWORDS
coexistence
dietary partitioning
folivory
food preferences
granivory
gut morphology
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